The University of Southampton

Stevan Harnad--Southampton's globe-trotting archivangelist

Published: 25 April 2006

Southampton's globe-trotting 'archivangelist' Professor Stevan Harnad, is currently promoting the benefits of University Open Access Self-Archiving as invited keynote speaker in Europe, the United States and Canada.

'Self-Archiving' means researchers depositing their published articles in their own university's open-access web archives, making them accessible for free, for all users worldwide.

Professor Harnad, one of the founders of the international Open Access movement and Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) is informing his audiences in five locations around the world that so far only 15 per cent of researchers are self-archiving spontaneously, even though studies from the University of Southampton have shown that self-archiving increases research usage and impact by a dramatic 25-250 per cent in all disciplines. This is especially important for the UK Research Assessment Exercise, he says, given the recently announced proposals that it will in future be based on metrics.

Yet 95 per cent of researchers report that they would comply if self-archiving were mandated by their institution or research funder (just as publishing is mandated) - and the four institutions that have so far mandated it (including Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science, the first to do so) have demonstrated sky-rocketing self-archiving rates.

Of scientific journals worldwide, 93 per cent already officially endorse some form of author self-archiving. There is now a simple way that immediate deposit can be mandated even for articles published in the remaining seven per cent of journals that embargo, delay, or disallow author Open Access self-archiving.

This week the University of Southampton added a new 'User email eprint Request' feature to its free open access software, GNU EPrints, to encourage authors who are still hesitant about self-archiving to go ahead and deposit all their articles now, with no delay or embargo, by giving users the extra option of automatically (with just a few extra keystrokes) emailing the author to request an email copy whenever an article has been deposited but not yet made Open Access.

Professor Harnad commented: 'For those (like the RCUK, the European Commission, and the US National Institutes of Health) that have been hesitating about mandating immediate self-archiving because of concerns about the seven per cent of journals with copyright restrictions or delays/embargoes, immediate deposit can now be mandated without mandating immediate Open Access! This will fill the 85 per cent self-archiving gap and tide over the 7 per cent with almost-immediate email access. Research is not funded and conducted to have its usage and impact delayed or embargoed. In fast-moving fields especially, early uptake is critically important for research progress.'

Professor Harnad has presented/is presenting at the following five conferences:

Invited Plenary lecture, 1st European Conference on Scientific Publishing in Biomedicine and Medicine (ECSP) "Researchers and Open Access - the new scientific publishing environment" and also Workshop on "Self-archiving, Institutional Repositories, and its impact on research" Lund, Sweden 21- 22 April 2006

The Access to Knowledge Conference (A2K) Yale Law School, New Haven, 21-23 April 2006

Invited Keynote. Open Access and Information Management: An International Workshop Organized by the Information Management Committee of Research & Technology Organisation of NATO, Oslo, Norway, May 10, 2006

Invited Keynote. CRIS2006. Open Access Institutional Repositories. Current Research Information Systems. Bergen, Norway, 11-13 May 2006

Congrès de l'ACFAS 2006: Colloque sur l'autoarchivage des articles de recherche, leurs libres accès et leurs impacts scientifiques, McGill, Montréal, 15 mai 2006

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